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Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
The following excerpt is from Michael Glauser’s new book Main Street LikendisLike. Buy it now on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
The power of the goal is a huge key to building a successful business. The most successful entrepreneurs can clearly articulate Why they do what they do. Having a clear and motivating goal helps you get through the difficult times you will face, establishes a higher level of excellence for your business, encourages team members to join you in your cause, and attracts and retains customers. who love what you do. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.
1. The goal provides lasting hold.
I think the best book ever written on the power of purpose is Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl. Before World War II, Frankl was a neurologist and psychiatrist in private practice in Vienna. In 1942, he and his family were sent to various concentration camps by the Nazis. Frankl was the only one to survive; the rest of his family, including his wife, died in the camps.
During his stay in the camps, as a psychiatrist, he was extremely interested in the human dynamics he saw there, especially by who lived and who died. Frankl observed that it was not the tallest or the physically strongest who survived, but those who found meaning in their suffering. In other words, those who found a purpose in their lives, even in the midst of misery, continued to live. Those who have lost all purpose in their lives are dead.
Frankl also noted that the largest number of deaths in the camp occurred in January. Mentally, these unfortunate prisoners had decided that they could not bear another year in the camp and expected to be released before the end of the year. When the New Year came and went and they were still in prison, they gave up and died. Therefore, Frankl’s now famous words: “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only for lack of meaning and purpose … Whoever has a WHY to live, can bear almost all the HOW.”
This same principle is essential for building a successful business. My observation is that most companies take longer, cost more and earn less than you think, at least in the short term, and there are a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. If you only do it for the money, it’s too easy to bail out when the road gets rocky. However, if you truly believe in what you are doing, it is much easier to find the strength to survive and then thrive. You will enjoy the trip more and believe it will be worth it in the end. In fact, I don’t think you can build a successful business in the long run if you don’t have a goal higher than financial gain.
2. The goal encourages excellence.
If you have a clear objective for your business and you are there for the long term, you do things differently from those who want to get in and out quickly. When your driving goal is strong, everything you do is consistent with it. The things you do are important now and your development is in real time. You don’t do things to make more money in the short term, so you can have a more lucrative outing. You create great products for your customers because they are essential to your goal. You hire and train great team members because that is essential to your goal. You offer phenomenal customer service because it is essential to your goal. You are providing authentic service to your community because it is an integral part of your goal. These practices do not mean an end; they are ends in themselves. This consistency of purpose leads to higher standards of excellence, superior processes and better long-term results.
3. The goal inspires team members.
If you have an engaging goal and can communicate it clearly, this will help you attract a supportive cast around your business. Your support team may include mentors, counselors, team members and strategic partners. When people like what you do and can express their own values by working with you, they are much more likely to join your cause. These are people who can help you grow your business effectively.
Having an exciting goal beyond making money is particularly attractive to the new generation of the millennium. Millennials are those born between 1982 and 2000; this group includes 83 million people and represents 26% of the american population. It is the largest generational group in the history of our country. Tons of research has been done on Generation Y, and one discovery continues to surface. Generation Y is a value-driven generation: they care about the values of the companies they buy from and the companies they work for, and they want to participate in meaningful work in their careers.
I teach Generation Y at my university, and most tell me that they prefer working for a company with an exciting goal rather than a company with no binding mission – even if it means lower pay. Since Generation Y will constitute the majority of the workforce in the years to come, having a clear and engaging goal will become even more essential to building successful teams.
4. The goal attracts and retains customers.
Dale Aramaki owns the Phillips 66 gas station in my neighborhood. He is an excellent mechanic, offers superior service, offers attractive prices, hires neighborhood children and participates in community activities. Dale is my car guy. When I need gas, I go to Dale. When I need inspections, I go to Dale. When I need repairs, I go to Dale. I do not shop around, I do not check prices and I do not go to other service stations. Why? Because Dale enjoys being in our neighborhood, has a real desire to meet our needs and has become an integral part of our community.
In his excellent book Start with why, Simon Sinek makes a very convincing argument: people don’t buy what you do; they buy Why You do it. As a result, companies with a strong goal are more successful than others. Their customers become extremely loyal and do not shop elsewhere. They become daughters of Apple (“Think different”). They become guys from Lexus (“The relentless pursuit of perfection”). They become whole food families (“whole food, whole people, whole planet”).
When people understand that your goal is to create jobs in the city, solve an ongoing problem, provide phenomenal customer service, revitalize Main Street, solve a health problem, or give back to the community, they are more likely to support your business. They become loyal fans who only buy certain products or services from you, which is much better than having to constantly sell features and benefits. People don’t buy what you do; they buy Why You do it.